A privately owned hangar, 7Star Global Hangar Ltd., says it is set to start aircraft maintenance and repairs in Lagos in February.
Mr Isaac Balami, Chief Executive Officer of the hangar, recently approved by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), disclosed this in an interview on Thursday in Abuja.
Balami, an aircraft engineer, said the company had concluded arrangements on equipment needed and personnel competency training to begin maintenance and repairs of aircraft locally.
He said that the facility would begin operation with Boeing aircraft type in line with the approval from the regulator, adding that the company would extend operation to other aircraft types in future.
He added that the company engineers have the requisite training and capability to handle other types of aircraft such as the Airbus, Bombardier and Gulfstream, among others.
The aircraft engineer said the facility would help domestic airlines and private aircraft operators to save cost and time associated with carrying out checks overseas.
According to him, absence of hangar in Nigeria is one of the major challenges confronting domestic airlines in the country, making it difficult for them to survive.
“We believe that this year, our local hangars in this country should be fully functional to reduce the cost of operations for airlines, instead of taking aircraft to overseas.
“The airlines are forced to take their aircraft to Europe and Asia for checks.
“They are forced to look for dollar, pay for navigational charges for flying across different countries, paying for accommodation and allowances for pilots and engineers going for the check.
“It is a whole lot of expenses for the airlines and so we want to commence operation in our new hangar facility by the end of January, hopefully.
“We have been able to get all equipment and gadgets that we need to check the aircraft.
“Even though all the engineers have been certified by aircraft manufacturers and NCAA, we want all the staff to understand the vision of the company.’’
According to him, the company’s target is the local airlines and private aircraft owners and we are in talks with their heads of maintenance.
“They are just waiting for us to start because we want to ensure that the day we are going to start our operation, we will invite all the airlines to come and see what we have and the quality of our personnel and the equipment that we have.
“The facility is going to help local airline enhance their operation because of time and cost saving.
“It is also going to reduce the issues of flight delays and cancellations.
“If you have an issue with your aircraft, instead of waiting for engineers to come from Europe and America, we will be on ground to handle it within a day instead of waiting for weeks for engineers to come from Europe,’’ he said.
Balami expressed optimism that the Nigerian aviation industry would experience major breakthrough in 2019, saying the federal government had shown commitment toward making the industry a better one.
He called on the government to ensure the implementation of its aviation roadmap, complete all ongoing projects and the construction of the second runway for the Abuja airport.
“A lot of commitment has been made on the issue of Nigeria Air which is a little bit delayed but I think that a lot of progress has been made which the government is yet to announce,’’ he added.